FELA Whistleblower Lawsuits
Sometimes workers are fired unfairly. Whistleblower protection is designed to keep employers from punishing employees for reporting safety hazards and violations. Contact Murphy, Falcon & Murphy if you have been wrongfully punished for reporting railroad company violations.
What Is FRSA?
The Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) was created to help protect railroad workers from unfair treatment. Whistleblower protection falls under FRSA guidelines.
FRSA outlines certain actions for which you cannot be punished. Some of the actions protected under FRSA include:
- Providing information to government authorities or assisting in an investigation
- Refusing to break the law or take part in breaking the law
- Filing a complaint against the company
- Reporting an injury to the company
- Helping federal agencies conduct safety or security investigations
- Accurately reporting hours on duty
- Reporting a dangerous safety or security situation
- Refusing to work in a dangerous situation
- Refusing to authorize someone else working in the dangerous situation
If the worker refuses to work but is given another option to complete the work in a safer way, he or she cannot receive whistleblower protection. A worker is not protected if a reasonable third party determines that the situation is not dangerous or if the worker does not report the dangerous situation or his or her intent to stop working.
Employer Actions that Violate Whistleblower Protection
If the court determines that your punishment was given because you performed one of the protected activities, the railroad company is violating FRSA guidelines. Some of the actions that would violate whistleblower protection are:
- Firing or laying off
- Denying overtime or promotion
- Denying benefits
- Failing to hire or rehire
- Making threats
- Reassignment that affects promotion potential
- Reducing pay or hours
- Discipline for requesting medical treatment
- Discipline for following a treatment plan
- Forcing an employee to work against medical advice
If your action is safeguarded under whistleblower protection and your company takes any one of the aforementioned actions, it is in violation of FRSA and you are eligible to file a FELA claim.
If your FRSA rights have been compromised, you can be compensated. You can receive reinstatement of the same seniority and benefits that you had prior to the punishment, payment of backpay with interest, special damages, attorney’s fees, and possible punitive damages if a judge determines the employer’s actions were egregious.
What Do I Do If My Whistleblowing Rights Have Been Compromised?
Seek medical treatment if you were injured. Keep your medical bills and records and ask for everything in writing. Keep any contracts or signed documents and take notes on any important interactions you have with the company. File a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as soon as possible.
FELA Whistleblower Attorney
If you or a coworker has been wrongfully punished after completing any of the activities protected under FRSA, you may be eligible to file a FELA whistleblower lawsuit. Contact the attorneys at Murphy, Falcon & Murphy if you need help determining your eligibility to file a claim or want experienced representation for your case.